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Maro Itoje drove England to Wales success but car comparison baffled him

England lock Maro Itoje has been compared to a Vauxhall Viva by head coach Eddie Jones
England lock Maro Itoje has been compared to a Vauxhall Viva by head coach Eddie Jones

Maro Itoje admits he had to consult the internet when being compared to a Vauxhall Viva by England head coach Eddie Jones.

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Jones used a motoring reference to outline his expectations for rising star Itoje, who was magnificent in Saturday's 25-21 RBS 6 Nations victory over Wales at Twickenham and was named man of the match.

When announcing Itoje was to win his first cap off the bench against Italy on February 14, Jones said: "Maro is a young kid who has a good head on his shoulders. He's like a Vauxhall Viva now, we want to make him into a BMW. He's got a lot of work to do, but he's got potential."

Itoje may be a politics student who writes poetry, but the comparison left him baffled.

"I had to Google it, to be honest. I didn't know what a Viva was. I obviously knew what Vauxhall was but not a Viva. So I had to Google it to find out what it was!" Itoje said.

"The coach knows best. I wouldn't exactly describe myself as that but the coach is obviously a very knowledgeable man who knows what he's talking about."

The Viva was a popular small family car in the 1960s and 1970s before its production was halted, although the name was recently revived by Vauxhall.

Itoje, who is still only 21 years old, won his third cap but played like a veteran as he carried the fight to Wales in a thrilling Twickenham showdown.

The athletic Saracens lock stole ball at the line-out, snatched a turnover, delivered shuddering hits and even made a break to help set up Anthony Watson's try.

Jones, whose team now have the Six Nations title secured, believes the greatest danger to Itoje not fulfilling his potential comes from within.

"I've been trying to look after him, I've (limited) his exposure to the media but I've got to let him go now," Jones said.

"As long as he stays hungry and doesn't get too far ahead of himself, he's going to be a wonderful player.

"It's very easy for any player to get too far ahead of himself. It only takes one person to twist their head and they get too far ahead of themselves.

"Just because you are academically smart doesn't make you street-smart, and to be a sustainable success in rugby you have to be street-smart.

"I always thought he had raw potential. There were some areas of his game that drastically needed re-doing to be a Test player and he's worked on that and come through."


From Belfast Telegraph